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StLouHoo dubbed this a trap game two weeks ago, and sandwiched between games against Duke and Louisville, it certainly could have proved to be so. But in another butt-ugly game (rock fight doesn’t do justice to the ghastliness of this contest) Virginia prevailed yet again.

 

Virginia46
Miami44

 

 

Positive

I’m tired of writing this, but a win is a win is a win. In beating Florida State and Duke, making a great game out the first half wreckage that was Louisville, and now going against 6 – 13 bottom feeder Miami, the Cavs have proved they can hang with anyone.

Positive

Shades of Bryant Stith.  Jay Huff came out on fire and scored Virginia’s first 17 points. He made 3 of his first 5 three-point attempts and displayed a couple of nice post moves.  At one point in the game, Huff was 7 – 9 with 17 points while the rest of the players on the court were a combined 5 – 34 with 11 points. He would go 0 – 7 the rest of the way.

Negative

Tomas Woldetensae’s hair.  Go back to the braids, young man.  Tomas has not shot well since he let his hair out.  It is clear that the rest of the ACC knows he is a threat, because Virginia Tech, Duke, and now Miami have concentrated on running him off the 3-point line.  In his defense, on at least three occasions he was set, ready to take the three, and the pass to him was off the mark.  Woldetnesae’s release is not the fastest so he has to get better service.  One feature of the sides offense since the days of Joe Harris was the elevator screen, which was deployed a couple of times a game, usually to spring Harris or Kyle Guy and get them in the groove.  Woldetensae has learned just how hard he has to run off screens, but we haven’t run one that I’ve been aware of.  The coaching staff has to help Woldetensae get open.

Positive

(For Virginia) Chris Lykes’ injury.  Lykes got on fire late in the second half and singlehandedly carried Miami back into contention. But in the second half, on an ill-advised attempt to block a Braxton Key layup, he caught an elbow from a teammate and left the game with what is going to be a nasty shiner. In a game that went down to the final seconds (again) it was perhaps too much for Miami to overcome the loss of their best player.

Positive

Boneheaded Miami players. Harlond Beverly was at the line, 2 point game late in the second half, and teammate Keith Stone robbed the Hurricanes of a +1 three-point play by trying to grab a rebound charging in from outside the key as Beverly was shooting.  And then, game tied with 8 seconds left and Clark with the ball close to half court, Beverly tried a hero-ball steal and fouled the best free-throw shooter in the ACC.  Kihei Clark converted both free throws and Virginia won the game.  If either of these two players had a modicum of basketball sense, it could well have been a different result.

Negative

Kihei Clark vs Chris Lykes.  In a matchup pitting the two smallest players in the ACC, and maybe all of Division I hoops, Clark was out-dueled by Lykes. Playing for contact on a pair of drives, Clark committed two first half fouls, the second a particularly egregious push off of Lykes, who was behind him. Clark ended up with two fouls in the first half and sat a total of 11 minutes of the game. Braxton Key drew the assignment of stopping Lykes and Key was much more successful than the Mong00se.

Positive

Mamadi Diakite’s second half. In the absence of Clark and with Key manning the point for parts of the second half, Diakite had a very efficient 2nd half crashing the boards and scoring 12 points.

Negative

Notre Dame. They lead most of the game versus FSU and were one Trent Forrest offensive rebound away from knocking off the Seminoles and giving the Hoos a path to the ACC regular season title.  They tried, they really tried, to play their part, but as has been the case for a couple of season for Mike Brey, the Irish fell short in the final 7 seconds of the game.

 

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@ Miami FL (Basketball(M), March 4, 2020)